The electric grid in the United States remains largely unprotected, according to a longtime adviser to Congress on national security issues, Peter Vincent Pry.
Pry told VOA he believes North Korea is ready to attempt a strike on the U.S. electric grid using an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). Pry said North Korea practiced an EMP strike against the U.S. last year when it orbited a satellite at the optimal altitude and trajectory to carry out such an attack.
Pry was a member of the former Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (2001-2008). He also is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board dedicated to achieving protection of the United States from electromagnetic pulse and other threats.
An electromagnetic pulse (or disturbance) is a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can be natural or man-made. EMP interference generated by lightning, for example, can damage electronic equipment. At very high energy levels, an EMP can damage physical objects such as trees, buildings and aircraft.
Pry said the North Korean test last year took place over the South Pole, which he called a strategic move. “We are blind from the south. We don’t have the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System or interceptors to protect us from the south,” said Pry.
The congressional analyst said this was done after North Korea’s third illegal nuclear test in February 2013 and after the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, threatened to strike the United States and its allies with a nuclear missile.